Chris Eliott, a travel writer who’s picked up by the Huffington Post (I guess his acting career is in a rut) has noticed something that frequent flyers have known for 10 years: the most dangerous part of one’s trip is the journey past the TSOs.
In an informal internet poll he conducted for his HuffPo piece, the public overwhelmingly responded: the TSA is more dangerous than terrorists.
You need to watch your belongings like a hawk. And if they don’t steal your physical belongings, they can be taking your image, putting photos of your genitals on YouTube.
In his story, “Who’s More Dangerous: Terrorists Or The TSA?” Elliott details some of the most egregious examples of TSA thievery.
Eliott points out how much time the TSA spends declaring how they’re mostly good; just a few bad apples here and there. But the facts reveal an endemic; a festering culture of thievery that permeates the whole organization. (The people at Travel Underground maintain that the crime rate among TSA employees is higher than the general population.)
For an agency that claims to have “zero tolerance” for criminal behavior, TSA agents sure spend a lot of time declaring their guilt.
I was reminded of that unfortunate fact a few days ago after a screener reportedly faced accusations of stealing $5,000 from a passenger’s jacket as he was going through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The agent, Alexandra Schmid, hasn’t confessed yet even though officials have it all on videotape. But a closer look at the TSA’s rap sheet reveals that often, employees accused of crimes simply roll over and play dead when someone points a finger at them.
Elliott takes note of the problems in Sea-Tac (SEA), where even the TSA supervisor helped himself to passenger booty.
[...]Randy Pepper, the TSA supervisor who worked at Seattle-Tacoma, an airport with what many passengers would argue has the worst TSA workforce in the country?
Pepper in 2010 confessed to removing money and jewelry from the luggage he was inspecting, including sterling silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings. Few of the items were recovered; most were melted down for the gold or silver content, according to the Justice Department.
It’s encouraging to see travel writers finally recognizing this problem; too often they focus on delays or inefficiencies. And when a TSO is arrested for theft, he’s generally treated like any other petty criminal, and not as a Federal Officer who has endangered a port of the United States of America and has taken a direct and deliberate action to subvert our Nation’s security.